09/11/2012 12:43 pm ET Updated Sep 11, 2012

Bear Survives 34-Foot Fall From Utility Pole After Being Tranquilized, Electrically Shocked (VIDEO)

Bears in New Mexico have been making news lately, with several high-profile sightings reported in the last few weeks, and a controversial new bear "harvest" limit announced in July.

In light of recent events, HuffPost Green presents this amazing story of survival, which aired on Animal Planet's "Unchained and Uncut" several years ago. Filmed in Albuquerque, the footage also serves as a reminder of the danger that can arise from habitat loss and bear dependence on urban food sources.

Separated from her cub, a mother bear climbed up a utility pole to evade capture.

Concerned the bear posed a threat to the neighborhood, authorities ordered the bear tranquilized, despite her precarious location. Once hit with a dart, the sedative took more than an hour to take effect. As the bear struggled to hold onto the pole, her foot touched a live wire; she was shocked and fell.

Miraculously, she suffered no broken bones in the 34-foot fall. And although the bear sustained serious burns to her hind legs, the current was deflected by her thick fur.

The bear was taken to a local zoo, treated and eventually reunited with her cub, which had been recovered earlier by authorities.

American black bears are found throughout North America and are not considered an endangered species in the United States and Canada. However, like many wild animals, they face danger from habitat destruction.

Incidents of bears wandering into human-populated areas can be seen as a symptom of habitat destruction. Bears will come in search of easy meals from unsecured garbage cans. In New Mexico, there have been several recent sightings of bears in urban areas.

On Labor Day, a black bear was spotted near a church in downtown Santa Fe, captured and then later released in the mountains of northwest New Mexico. On Monday, a large black bear was seen in Santa Ana Pueblo, north of Albuquerque.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the bear was electrocuted. Electrocution is death caused by electric shock. The bear in this story survived an electric shock.



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